The Dallas Mavericks haven't had a fantastic start to the 2022-23 season as a team, considering they have a 4-3 record through seven games. The same can't be said for star point guard Luka Doncic who has managed to take his game to another level to start the season and has powered Dallas to all of the success they have had early on in the season.
Doncic is relying on his post-up game to score more points this season
It's only a seven-game stretch, but Doncic has looked unstoppable to start the season. He's leading the league in scoring with 36.1 points per game while shooting 51.4 percent from the field. He's also remained just as good of a passer (nine assists per game) and rebounder (8.9 rebounds per game), making him an early frontrunner for the NBA's MVP award.
Doncic has upped the ante offensively so far this season, and a big reason why is that he has leaned on his post-scoring capabilities in the paint to get more points. Doncic is leading the NBA with 6.9 points per game off of post-up plays this season and is averaging 1.23 points per possession on possessions where he posts up against his defender. Doncic was asked about his recent inclination to go to the post for points and said it was a tactical decision to help him improve his overall scoring output.
"Just that you get less tired (when playing out of the post). I think it's good to be posting up. Sometimes they're going to double, sometimes no you get into the paint. And you just play for them. Our bigs are doing a great job of flashing when they double and we just move the ball from there." - Luka Doncic, Sports Illustrated
Doncic appears to improve as he continues to become more comfortable in the post
What makes Doncic so good is that he has the unique ability to score in pretty much every way you can fathom, including posting up his defender. Doncic has always had this skill in his repertoire, but he didn't use it nearly as frequently last season as he has early on this season, and the early results are hard to miss.
Doncic's desire to get in the post isn't necessarily surprising considering he often has mismatches against opposing guards in the paint. Doncic is much bigger than your typical guard (6'7, 230 lbs), which already makes him very tough to defend. When you account for his ability to score out of the post efficiently, it only adds to the struggle that comes with defending Doncic.
Considering his success in the post early on this season, it wouldn't be surprising to see Doncic continue to utilize this avenue of scoring as the season continues, as the Mavericks' offense will improve as he becomes more comfortable in the post. Despite their various woes to start the season, Doncic's continued offensive growth has set the bar very high for Dallas this season.